Best links to help Scrivener newcomers?

Hello Forum,

I’m an absolute newcomer to Scrivener and to the forum, and would like to find links to pages/video tutorials that will teach me the best way to get started with the software.

I primarily want to use Scrivener to write novels, having finally run out of patience with the limitations of Word.

I have watched the ‘basics’ YouTube tutorial by Keith the designer. Now I would like to watch other videos, but the list on the website under Video Tutorials seems a bit all over the place, with no apparent structure to the tutorials offered. For example, the Basics tutorial mentions a ‘Basics 2’ tutorial (or something like that) - but there is nothing with that sort of title on the list of video tutorials.

Or am I looking in the wrong place?

I am determined to learn how to get the most out of Scrivener from the very start - not just jump in and fail to fully grasp its capabilities (the way I have suffered working with so many other programs over the years).

Apologies if this is a topic that has been done to death, but I would appreciate any pointers.


The absolutely best place to start is in the Help menu itself, or if you haven’t created a project yet, the “Getting Started” screen. Select “Interactive Tutorial”. This will create a live project on your disk, just like the one you’ll use to write your novel. So as you work through the steps in the tutorial, you will be familiarising yourself with the program. Now, that’s a long introduction, so if you’re looking for something a little more brief and to the point, there is also a quick tour in the user manual PDF (also available from these locations). The quick tour won’t be enough to tap into everything the program can offer you, but it will get you writing in 30 minutes.

Another point on those tutorials is that most of them are Mac specific right now, so while they might provide some good philosophical insight into the program, not all of the menu command and features may line up the way you see them.

Thanks, Amber. I’ll do that right now.


Not a link, but some good reading:

“Writing a novel with Scivener” by David Hewson.

I read through it when Scrivener for windows was stil in 1.0. Now with the 1.5x version out, most (but not all) of the Mac functionality is also in the Windows version and the book is most helpful.

I grabbed it as an Ebook and refer to it frequently when I am trying new stuff out with Scrivener.

The help files are also really good. Back in the old days someone might have just rhown a “RTFM” in your face, but the help files in this case are really excellent reading.

Hope that helps.

Ralph from France

Thanks Ralph. I’m a fan of David Hewson’s fiction, so I’ll look up that reference book.

The more I look into Scrivener, the more I am convinced that it is indeed a tool (or a set of tools) best suited to the whole writing process, from the planning stages onwards.

I was originally drawn to it by what seems to be a mistaken assumption, that it would be a lot of help with the finishing and revision of a manuscript I have almost completed. Instead, I am coming around to the notion that I might as well complete this book without Scrivener - and move to Scrivener in time for the beginning of the next book-writing process.

Does anyone agree or disagree with this uneducated observation?


I would say your observation is astute, and it has always been the focal point of its design to address the early to middle phases of a project. The most difficult phase, perhaps, is when you’ve basically finished the long haul and your work is now floating around to different parties for editing and proofing. That’s something we would like to work on in the future. It’s just a philosophical problem with how Scrivener works with a hundred+ point outline and everyone else works with a Word Document. You can’t really go back and forth without a bit of a hassle. Consequently that is where many authors close down the project for good and continue onward in word processors. Then, for some people the software picks up its stride again as it can take a big mess of work and turn it into an output that is nearly, if not completely ready for the final stages of publication. How well it works in that phase depends largely upon how much finishing work you need to do yourself. The more polished it needs to be, the more likely you’ll be spending the end in some other program that is designed for publication finishing.

The hardest way to pick up the software, in my opinion, is with a 95% completed manuscript that you just want to turn into something else (like an e-book). It’s not that it is impossible, it’s just that many of the “end game” tools in the software kind of assume you’ve been working in the software for months, not minutes. Not only will the content you already have be wholly unsuitable without spending a while getting it shoe-horned in, but you’re likely going to be faced with learning a bunch of jargon and concepts—things that would have gradually come to you over time.

Say, what are some of these other-than-Scrivener production/finishing tools? I gather that Sigil is highly recommended for ePub output; anything else? Or will plain ol’ MS Publisher do just fine??

Thanks. :slight_smile: